Monday, August 03, 2015

A busy (birth)day…

I got the second and final coat of paint on the right side gunwale yesterday. In answer to Gary’s question, I used Craftmaster undercoat, which seems to have done the job. If I hadn’t liked it I could easily have overcoated with gloss black. Oh, and sorry to disappoint about the bunny…

We missed the blue moon the other night, but last night we had an orange-tinted one, crossed by bands of cloud.

This morning we were on the move at 08:45, yes, I know, that’s early for us! But we were meeting a Tesco delivery at Black Horse Bridge between 9 and 10, and had a half mile of canal and a swing bridge to negotiate first.
We arrived handily at 9, but Tescoman didn’t come till 09:50. Ah well, at least I got the right cabin side washed and leathered off, and the tiller bar brassoed while we waited.

We spent a few minutes putting away the frozen stuff, then, leaving everything else piled in heaps set off down to the junction. It was breezy in the basin, so I’d decided to use the water tap opposite the Foxton Locks Inn rather than the one at the end of the bottom arm, but was beaten to it by a boat coming around the corner. So, after coming through the pedestrian swing bridge we did a 270° turn and pulled into the arm entrance. It’s a shorter distance to the bins and the elsan disposal here anyway.

The junction and basin at the bottom of the locks suddenly got very busy, so when we’d finished, rather than try to turn under power against the gusty wind I took the bow rope and pulled the boat around till we were facing the right way. And then we were off.

Didn’t want to try to turn around amongst this lot!IMG_6637

Mags took over the tiller while I busied myself putting away the shopping, hanging up the washing that we’d done on the way to the junction, and finally making a brew.

A boat goes back in at Debdale Wharf

From the wharf to Saddington Tunnel the canal has been designated an SSSI. Hence vegetation control has to take a back seat to conservation. As does visibility!IMG_6641

It doesn’t improve on the approach to Saddington Tunnel, partially obscured by overhanging bushes.

The bat boxes are still in place in the tunnel, but I’ve yet to see a bat…IMG_6648

But we didn’t meet any boats either, which was good. This is the last of the three tunnels on the Leicester Line. Saddington and Husbands Bosworth are fairly dry, but Crick is notoriously drippy at the north end, especially after rain.

Come on guys, get a room!
Time for a cigarette…

We often stop at Fleckney for groceries but with the delivery this morning there was no need. But I had forgotten those cup-cake cases… Nah.

Around the corner we arrived at Kibworth Top Lock, with the renovated and much extended lock cottage just above.

Kibworth TopIMG_6652
This section of canal, north of Foxton, built in 1797, was the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire Union Canal, and was intended to link the end of the Leicester Canal with Northampton. From there it would have had access to the sea via the Nene, and a link to the Grand Junction and London up the Northampton Arm. But finances were strained and finally the Grand Junction took over the construction, modifying the route to head straight for Norton Junction. The section to Market Harborough, supposed to be part of the original route, now became a dead end.
The locks on the LNU were built to the same size as those of the Loughborough and Leicester cuts, as they were supposed to carry the same traffic. It’s these broad locks we’ll now have to descend as we head towards Leicester.

The structures were refurbished after 100 years of use…IMG_6653


The locks come fairly regularly now, we passed a couple of Braidbar boats in the pound between Kibworth Middle and Taylors Locks.

Swapping locksIMG_6655

We didn’t do too badly really, meeting boats at most of today’s five locks. We’ve had problems with water levels along here in the past, but today there was plenty of the wet stuff.

Cranes Lock, our last todayIMG_6656

Moored not far below Cranes.

We’d been following a boat down, never getting close enough to see them but being told by boats coming up. We passed them moored a little closer to the lock, and a conversation ensued, the upshot of which sees us sharing tomorrow’s locks with John and Barbara, NB Clarice. That’ll make life a little easier.

Thanks for all the birthday wishes, by the way. Who’d a thowt it, eh. Fifty-nine. Wow!

Hi Richard, Lynda. Sorry we didn’t get to meet – again! I was going to come round when you arrived but I had some cakes in the oven, then events sort of overtook me! Next time, eh.

Hey Chas, this isn’t work!

Locks 5, miles 7½

1 comment:

KevinTOO said...

Happy Birthday Geoff, not long to go now before you get your free bus pass, now won't that be so useful, not... LOL